Competitive Scene - Page 5
Mike Wolfe battles tough conditions at the 2012 TNF Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships, San Francisco, California. Photo by Matt Trappe.
THE NORTH FACE ENDURANCE CHALLENGE
It took five years after Montrail founded the Ultra Cup for another trail-running company to support a new trail-running championship event. In 2007, The North Face (TNF) established its Endurance Challenge series with regional events followed by a series championship run in the Bay Area’s Marin Headlands. According to Katie Ramage, Director of Sports Marketing at TNF, “The goal of the Endurance Challenge Championships was and is to create a high- stakes, high-quality series ... that draws runners from around the world and provides yet another opportunity for the elite community to come out in full force.” An unheard of $20,000 in prize money split between the men’s and women’s winners helped spur the likes of Matt Carpenter, Uli Steidl, Lizzy Hawker and Jenn Shelton to the inaugural TNF championships presented by GORE-TEX.
Now, with a $30,000 prize purse, the second-largest in American ultrarunning, the TNF Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships continue to bring the very best out to the Bay Area every December. In 2012, the TNF 50-Mile Championships (TNF 50) were one of the most competitive non-100-mile trail ultras in the U.S. and, possibly, the world. Headlining the men’s field were Miguel Heras, Mike Wolfe, Sage Canaday, François D’Haene, Adam Campbell, Dave Mackey and many more. The women’s field was no less exciting, with Emelie Forsberg, Lizzy Hawker, Krissy Moehl, Kami Semick, Caitlin Smith, Brandy Erholtz, Megan Kimmel and Joelle Vaught among the starters.
While the 50-mile championships are the marquis event, each of the six TNF Endurance Challenge locations features at least half a dozen races ranging from a one-kilometer kids’ race to ultra- distance events. This format undoubtedly motivates new and veteran runners alike.